Ride-hailing company Grab announced today the launch of a service called GrabShuttle, that allows passengers to pre-book a seat from a list of fixed routes on its 13, 23 and 40-seater vehicles.
This introduction seems like an extension of its GrabCoach service, which was launched less than a month ago. GrabCoach is catered only to group travelers and corporate customers, however, so it’s great to see them expanding their offering to office-goers as well.
To request a shuttle, users simply need to be download the GrabShuttle app (yes, it’s a separate app from Grab!) via the Apple and Google Play stores, and select the pick-up and drop-off points from the desired route to make a booking.
Most bus services operate on weekdays, excluding Public Holidays; and riders can book seats up to 5 minutes before the ride commences.
Currently, users can only book a GrabShuttle in these areas: Woodlands, Punggol, Sengkang, Changi, Central Business District (CBD), Alexandra, Bukit Timah, Bukit Panjang, Choa Chu Kang, and Jurong West.
If the desired route is not available, users can suggest a new route here, which may be introduced if demand is sufficiently high.
There are already some “crowdstart”-ed routes available on the app, and you can also view the number of people needed to activate the route and the remaining number of days till the end of the campaign.
Fun fact: If you’re wondering why all the current “crowdstart”-ed routes list Midview City as the pick-up point, it’s because Grab Singapore’s headquarters is located there!
Also, if you’re thinking that this service sounds very similar to Beeline, it’s because the app is integrated with Beeline’s open technology platform.
Designed on an open API architecture, Beeline allows for any private transport operators, tech companies or startups to integrate with the platform and build their own applications – and the example in this case is GrabShuttle.
As a matter of fact, the first 15 GrabShuttle routes were introduced based on Beeline’s data and Grab’s user data.
Given that the app is also part of a collaboration with GovTech, the usage patterns will be studied to understand how private shuttle bus services can complement public transportation network, and could eventually move us closer to a car-lite Singapore.
Should I Ditch The Trains?
The fares are dependent on the route chosen, but are fixed regardless of the distance travelled. Prices generally range from $3.50 to $5, and there are no additional surcharges.
My daily commute to the office from my house (Choa Chu Kang to Tanjong Pagar) via the MRT costs me $1.75 per trip. A quick check on the app tells me that the same route on GrabShuttle will set me back $5.
The price difference may be slightly more than double, but at least GrabShuttle guarantees your seat upon booking so you don’t have to jostle with the rush hour crowd. It is also an express service so you can get to your destination much faster with fewer stops.
Additionally, the app also offers convenience as it allows users to pay with their debit or credit card upon booking, and tracks the real-time location of the bus.
All buses will strictly follow their schedules so there will be no waiting time for late passengers. This is to ensure that everyone else onboard get to their destinations on time.
Currently, the service is offering users three free rides when you download the app and use promo code ‘GRABSHUTTLE’.
Featured Image Credit: Grab